Media for Enhanced Protein Production

Development of Cost-Effective Media for Enhanced Muscle Protein Content

New Harvest Research Fellow: Ted O'Neill, PhD Student at the University of California, Davis

Project Start Date: September 2019

Project Duration: Three years, full-time

Institutes: University of California, Davis

Supervisors:  Prof. David Block (Chair and Professor, Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis; Professor, Chemical Engineering, UC Davis); Prof. Keith Baar (Professor, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, UC Davis; Physiology and Membrane Biology, UC Davis); Prof. Hildegarde Heymann (Distinguished Professor, Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis) 

Project Abstract: 

To support the growing field of cultured meat, a stronger foundation of research needs to be laid addressing more fundamental paradigmatic questions. For this project, Ted proposed to establish cultured protein-rich livestock animal muscle cells as a feasible food source. To do this, he will develop an understanding of how myoblasts can be stimulated to inexpensively synthesize protein using animal-free media supplements and compare this to traditionally cultured, differentiated muscle tissue. In addition to studying the characteristics of the resulting muscle cells, Ted will develop a prototype food product and conduct a preliminary examination of its physical and sensory qualities.

Fluorescent-stained C2C12 cell micrograph obtained using the BioTek Cytation1 we were demoing in our lab. We were testing the instrument's ability to count cell samples at a high throughput.

Counting mask algorithm applied to the same image. The BioTek software recognized the discrete blue-stained nuclei as individual cells, and seemed to be very accurate.